Battlefield Heroes

I’ve been eagerly anticipating Battlefield Heroes for quite a while now – since late 2007 I think? Anyway, I’m a little disappointed but I’m still having fun playing the game.

First off, it’s another one of those ultra-twitchy first-person-shooters that requires you to shoot your opponents in the face twenty-seven times before you can actually kill them. I thought maybe, for once, a sniper rifle or heavy machine gun could maybe do some real damage in an FPS.

I have found that the most effective way to ensure kills is to run people over with a jeep or kubelwagen. It’s fun, and it seems to really annoy people. So they got that part of the game right, I suppose. You hit somebody with your car – they die.

But you see, the lack of powerful weapons is one of the ways they get you to come back for more in this new entry in the Battlefield franchise: you earn more Victory Points the more you play, and you can spend those points on upgrades so you can do more damage. I think it’s a neat game mechanic, and borrows nicely from the RPG genre, but when I play FPS games, it’s to get away from the RPG grind. (I just left WoW a while ago.)

I wish I could spend some of those Victory Points to upgrade my jeep. I’d put on some rollbars, some spikes on the front, maybe a horn that plays Dixie.

The game suffers from really terrible vehicle physics just like its predecessors. When you’re driving a jeep around, it has that same old Hot Wheels car on a stick feeling. Like the car has but one wheel and it’s located dead center of the vehicle. Don’t get me started about the airplanes. Atrocious to fly. Simply awful and they ruin what could have been a really fun aspect of the game.

Another thing I have trouble with is the generally unpolished feel of the game. I can understand an indy-game feel, but in some areas it’s sub-indy quality. Jumping physics, for instance, are just plain weird. Depending on the angle of the terrain you’re standing on, that’s the direction in which you jump. So while trying to hop up some rocks to get to a good sniping spot, you instead end up jumping backwards because of the slant of the rocks. It’s another bizarre tick that detracts from the fun. Another place where polish would help is when you’re driving over tall grass – it sticks up clear through the floorboards of jeeps. Things like that could use some lookin’ in to.

And finally, I have a beef with the way they portray the obviously Axis-inspired faction in the game. They make them way too cool, frankly. Everybody knows the Nazis had some pretty talented designers make their costumes uniforms, but this game glamorizes that aspect a bit too much. I think the factions should have been a lot more ambiguous as to their origin/political leanings.

I think that more than half of the players have the word “ninja” in their character names. It’s kind of like the Death Knight syndrome in WoW – all of them seem to have “Death” in their name.

I like the character development aspect of the game. I don’t like the fact that you can’t change class without leaving a battle. I’m very switchy in that respect and would like a little more flexibility.

I don’t really have an opinion about the micro-transaction aspect of the game. You can apparently spend real money to buy various goodies like clothes, etc. Fortunately you can’t buy items that affect gameplay (such as better weapons, armor, etc.)

Aside from my gripes, the game is quite fun once you get past the whole “sniping isn’t actually sniping” and “you just took an anti-tank round to the chest and are somehow still shooting at me” aspect of the game. It’s free, and it’ll probably give me plenty of giggles for the next couple of months.

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